The Ultimate New Jersey Bucket List
The ultimate New Jersey Bucket List
and we are not playing when we say ULTIMATE!
This list is so exhaustively authoritative, that it will be imitated and mimicked for years to come.
But remember, this is the all original often imitated but never duplicated transcendent, supreme, and highest of all worthiness COMPLETE……
NJ BUCKET LIST
1000 things every New Jersyain or visitor should experience in their lifetime.
If you are a first-timer to NJ. This list is all you will ever need.
Have a menu here and separate the bucket lists into categories
Have Gold Silver and bronze metal Editors Choice picks
The Essentials | The Basic Necessities
Six Flags Great Adventure
We hate to say it but this has to be on our biggest tourism attractions and if you have never been to NJ and are visiting for the first time, it should be on your bucket list. Six Flags Great Adventure is located in Jackson, New Jersey, and is the largest theme park in the Greater New York City area. Visitors can ride countless roller coasters (make sure to conquer Kingda Ka), a Ferris wheel that reaches 150 feet into the air and spends part of their day at the accompanying water park. Visitors looking for a break from the rides can check out the parachute training center or take a ride through the Safari adventure.
A visit to the statue of liberty. Is this even in New Jersey?
A visit to a New Jersey Salt Marsh. You can actually take a really cool salt marsh safari in Cape May on the Skimmer.
Liberty State Park
Overlooking the Upper New York Bay, Liberty State Park encompasses over 1,200 waterside acres. In addition to the incredible views of Ellis Island, this park contains many beautiful highlights, such as Communipaw Cove – a tidal salt marsh that has become a nature preserve. There are many interesting memorials to check out within the park, including the Empty Sky Memorial and the Liberation Memorial, respectively, dedicated to those lost in 9/11 and the Holocaust.
The Adventure Aquarium is a family attraction found along the Delaware River in Camden, New Jersey, near the Battleship New Jersey. This two-million-gallon aquarium is home to over 8,500 marine animals and includes an extensive collection of sharks, penguins, stingrays, and sea turtles. Those looking for an up-close experience can swim with sharks and stingrays, among other hands-on experiences.
Cape May County Park and Zoo
Cape May might be most famous for its Victorian-style homes, but it is also home to the Cape May County Zoo and Park. The public park provides many different recreational activities, all of which are free and open to the public. This includes trails for hiking and biking, volleyball and tennis courts, and of course, the zoo! Visitors can find many native and exotic animals in the free zoo.
Take a mine tour at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Learn about the history of the Sterling Hill Mine and go inside the mine itself to see fascinating drilling and blasting demonstrations.
Experience the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton NJ with a guided tour.
Head down to the Burlington County Prison Museum.
A visit to the Rankokus Indian Reservation
Take a drive from Route 29, Washington Crossing to Frenchtown
Visit the Jersey Devil.
Browse vendor booths at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market. This quirky and popular market occurs several times a year and features food trucks, loud music and a variety of interesting items for sale. Not to mention amazing people watching!
Visit the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary.
Take part in a wine tasting or tour at the beautiful 50-acre Willow Creek Winery. Stay the day and pair your wine with a savory farm dish from their restaurant.
Visit any one of New Jersey’s wineries. Most have wine tastings and very cool events throughout the year.
Listen to live music on a Saturday night at Albert Music Hall. Those with a love for nostalgia and roots music will appreciate this booze-free throwback venue.
See beautiful gardens at the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton NJ.
Delaware Water Gap
Those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of cityscapes and urban life will find a welcome retreat at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This 40-mile stretch of the Delaware River runs through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This area of the river is wild and scenic, with a plethora of activities, including white water rafting, hiking, canoeing, and horseback riding. Those traveling in the winter can cross-country ski.
Take a hot air balloon flight and observe breathtaking views of the state from overhead.
Drive a real race car Green Flag Driving Experience
Go for a hike at High Point State Park. You’ll find several trails and scenic views at this expansive park.
Climb every lighthouse in New Jersey.
Take a ride on a speed boat. This exhilarating experience makes for a fun afternoon and there’s a possibility you may see dolphins.
Walk on the beach at every NJ public beach.
Go ziplining at an aerial adventure park. There are several parks throughout the state that offer zip lining and treetop ropes obstacle courses.
See a Jets game at the Meadowlands.
Climb the challenging Mt. Tammany trail.
Go kayaking on the Hudson River.
Take a pirate adventure aboard a pirate ship!
Go surfing at the Jersey Shore.
Must-See Towns and Villages
Stay a night at the Wolverton Inn and witness the scenery of Stockton NJ. For lunch, hit up Liberty Hall Pizza which is located just 3 short miles away.
Newark is New Jersey’s second-largest city and offers a wide variety of attractions and activities for those visiting the city. While Newark is a bustling city, it is known for having one of the most significant collections of Cherry Blossom Trees in the United States. Make sure you check out the Newark Museum, the various galleries, beautiful architecture, and The Newark Symphony Hall.
Visit Branch Brook Park.
Go to the Prudential Center and see a Devils game.
Hit up the Ironbound District and have an authentic Portuguese dinner at Forno’s of Spain Restaurant.
Harry Potter fans may feel like they are in a Hogwarts’s fairytale when visiting Princeton. This city is rich in culture and is known for its breathtaking parks, monuments, and quaint, classic shopping villages. There are many scenic activities to try in Princeton, like hiking and picking fresh fruits.
Take a guided tour of Princeton University and visit the free Art Museum located on campus.
Go to the Morven Museum and Garden.
Hit up the Princeton Record Exchange.
For breakfast have pancakes at PJ’s Pancake House. For lunch go for drinks and quick eats at the Triumph Brewing Company. Our bucket list dinner recommendations go to Conte’s Pizza and Bar. If you want fancier options we recommend the Blue Point Grill, Winberies, Mistral, or the Witherspoon Grill.
Learn about the American blueberry culture at Whitesbog Village. This historic located in Browns Mills, NJ provides tours and lectures to teach visitors about the natural environment and history of Whitesbog.
Just a 15-minute drive from Browns Mills is the Columbus Farmers Market where you should try a slice of pizza at Kate and Al’s.
Eat at Catch 19. Then surf the city. There is way too much to do to list here. Here is a great PDF of where to eat.
Clinton, New Jersey, is a picturesque town that is home to the Raritan River. Those who visit should take a trip to the iron bridge, built-in 1870, which views a 200-foot-wide waterfall and two repurposed mills. Be sure to check out the many museum and historical sites to get the most out of your visit.
Visit the Round Valley Reservoir.
Visit the Red Mill Museum Village.
Other local attractions include the Hunterdon Art Museum, The Spruce Run Reservoir, and The Round Valley Reservoir.
Cold Spring Village
Experience life in 19th- century South Jersey at the Historic Cold Spring Village. There is lots to explore in this interesting village, from taking a horse-drawn carriage ride to watching staff members dressed in period clothing demonstrate skills like smithery and woodworking.
Take a trip to Frenchtown to see the Delaware River.
Take a stroll on the Delaware Canal State Park.
Have lunch at the Frenchtown Inn.
Jersey City is one of the most rapidly growing cities in New Jersey. Jersey City is home to world-class restaurants and a growing number of activities. Visitors can check out an assortment of galleries, parks, cultural sites, and an emerging art scene. Jersey City is also home to the Jersey City Theater, offering visitors a wide variety of shows, tours, and classes to enjoy.
History buffs will enjoy everything that Boonton has to offer. Famous for being a link within the Underground Railroad, nearly 40,000 slaves escaped through the city and on to Canada to their freedom. This small town was home to many noteworthy abolitionists. Those visiting the town will enjoy the town’s antique shops, diverse restaurants, and natural beauty.
No state visitors’ guide would be complete without mentioning the capital. History buffs will find plenty to enjoy in Trenton, New Jersey’s capital city. The New Jersey State Museum is a must-see that includes natural history, fine arts, and even a planetarium. Other attractions to check out include the War Memorial and The Patriots Theater.
Have pizza at New New Jersey’s oldest pizzeria, Papa’s Tomato Pies.
Frank Sinatra fans will love to visit the birthplace of Ol’ Blue Eyes. Located on the Hudson River across from lower Manhattan, Hoboken is the place to go for those seeking eclectic restaurants, classic brownstone buildings, and a bustling downtown and waterfront.
Have a steak at Toscano’s or have a pizza and a drink at the bar at Marcello’s
Have a fun-filled day learning at the Liberty Science Center. Featuring 12 interactive exhibits halls, this center has everything from naked mole rats to a woolly mammoth replica. There is even an 80-foot, pitch black, crawl-through maze and a sock skating rink.
Visit Mountain Creek Resort for an assortment of outdoor activities during the wintertime. The resort offers snow tubing, skiing and snowboarding and is the largest ski area in New Jersey.
Observe wolves at the Lakota Wolf Preserve. This non-profit cares for wolves in a natural environment and is also home to bobcats and foxes.
Go for a sail aboard a modern-day pirate ship with Dark Star Pirate Cruises. Kids will love the entertainment provided by the friendly Pirate Crew and, they will even get to participate in a treasure hunt.
Passaic River Great Falls
Chase waterfalls at Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park. The Paterson Great Falls (formed nearly 13,000 years ago) are especially significant as they are the second largest waterfall east of Mississippi. Feeling adventurous? Why not try to visit all of the waterfalls in NJ.
Take a ride on a real Pirate Ship with the Jersey Shore Pirates
Take a cruise to Martha’s Vineyard on the Seastreak
Hike the Appalachian trail.
Go Apple Picking.
Take a canoe tip in the Mullica River.
Go Tubing on the Deleware River
Bike the 90-mile Patriot’s Path trail in Morris County.
Find real Cape May Diamond on the beach at Sunset Beach in Cape May.
Go on a nighttime horseback riding adventure
Go Camping at least once in NJ. Here’s where to go!
Visit a unique Lavender Farm in NJ.
Things to do | Sightseeing Activities | Day Trips
A visit to one of New Jersey’s oldest zoos. Turtle Back Zoo
Visit the Adventure Aquarium in Camden NJ
Watch a real horse race at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Go to a New Jersey Devils hockey game
Meet a cast member from the show Jersey Shore.
Take a day trip to the Dream at the Meadowlands.
Beaches & Shore Towns
Taking a walk along the Jersey Shore is a must for any bucket list. The coastal areas of New Jersey are full of beach-side attractions including many restaurants, shops, art galleries and lighthouses. You will never be bored when you’re by the shore. Here are some top shore attractions.
Below are some shore towns not to miss.
Island Beach State Park. Island Beach State Park is one of the final barrier islands along New Jersey’s coast after Seaside Park. This narrow park stretches across 3,000 acres and stretches for ten miles between Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The island is home to dunes, tidal marshes, wetlands and provides a habitat for falcons, waterfowl, and ospreys.
Walk under the Seaside Heights boardwalk. Not many people know you can do this. Now you know!
Play games on the boardwalk ** This is a Gold Choice Editors choice **
Ride the Sky ride in Seaside at least once in your life!
Have a shot and a beer at EJ’s Tap House and enjoy the waterfront ocean view.
Have a slice of heaven at Maruca’s Tomato Pies on the boardwalk.
Get a cheesesteak at the Midway.
Whatever you do, do NOT go anywhere near MTV’s Jersey Shore House.
Cape May is a favorite south Jersey beach town situated at the southernmost tip of New Jersey and the Delaware Bay. Cape May was discovered by the wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries and enjoyed the status of a fashionable resort town. There is so much to see in the quiet beach town, including fine beaches, the Cape May Point Lighthouse (Which is a favorite historical landmark attraction amongst tourists because they climb to the top), and many Victorian-style homes.
Stay overnight in a Victorian Bed and Breakfast in Cape May NJ.
Catch a glimpse of a real Whale on the Cape May Whale Watcher.
Find real Cape May Diamond on the beach at Sunset Beach in Cape May.
Atlantic City, AC to the locals, is known as an entertainment center of New Jersey. Visitors go to enjoy a wide variety of different forms of entertainment such as gambling, world-class restaurants, shows, and of course, the beach and the boardwalk. While it may seem like this is more of an adult’s playground, there is plenty for families to do while visiting this fun beach town!
Walk the length of the infamous Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey, and go into the small shops.
Hit up one of the many cool bars including the LandShark Bar & Grill, Bally’s Bikini Beach Bar, or the HQ Beach Club At Revel Resort.
The Barnegat Lighthouse. Nestled on the edge of another Jersey beach town, The Barnegat Lighthouse is found at the tip of Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can climb up as far as the light keeper’s catwalk during permitted entry times and see some spectacular views of Long Beach Island, Barnegat Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Have a drink on the second floor deck at Tuckers at sunset.
Hit up the the Tiki bar at the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club. If you are able, stay a couple of nights with your dog.
If you are brining your family, this is the beach town you’ll want to visit! This waterside oasis is located along the Jersey shore and is home to more than eight miles and sandy ocean and bay-front beaches. There are plenty of water activities for those looking to jet ski, paddleboard, and go parasailing. Visitors can rent small boats and check out the many different activities on the boardwalk.
Visit New Jersey’s only nude beach. Gunnison Beach. And make sure you strip down and feel the breeze!
Go out for a night of fun at Jenk’s in Point Pleasant Beach NJ
Ride the roller coaster at Jenk’s then go to the infamous Jenk’s Beach Bar.
Wildwood welcomes nine million visitors each year. This beach town’s largest attraction is the massive boardwalk, which covers a whopping 38 blocks and has multiple amusement piers and countless shops. Water parks, thousands of eateries, and miles upon miles of beaches provide an endless trip filled with activities and fun.
Go Parasailing in Wildwood NJ. Hang Loose Parasail is one local parasailing option. See other places to go parasailing in NJ.
Another seaside town along the Jersey coast, Asbury Park is not only home to beaches, entertainment, and activities for families of all ages and sizes! This town is home to the Stone Pony Theater, the birthplace of the careers of Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. A popular vacation destination for New Yorker’s, Asbury Park has many fun restaurants, landmarks, and art galleries for visitors to enjoy.
Have a few drinks at the Bier Garden in Asbury Park NJ and have sausages, Bratwurst Weisswurst, or Kielbasa.
Have a pizza at Porta or Talula’s Pizza or have seafood at The Bonney Read.
If you are in the mood for Mexican, then we cannot recommend Barrio Costero enough.
Explore the New York skyline from Highlands New Jersey.
Have drinks and enjoy the oddities of Keansburg NJ. Make sure to get a hot dog at the Olde Heidelberg.
Visit The Battleship New Jersey
Found in South Jersey’s city of Camden, the Battleship New Jersey is moored on the Delaware River. Once an active, decorated Navy vessel, the Battleship is now a floating museum with exhibits, displays, and artifacts related to the ship’s involvement in different conflicts ranging from WWII to the Middle East in the 80s.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Anyone visiting New Jersey should check out the Thomas Edison National Historical Park as it includes the laboratory of one of the United States’ most famous inventors. Visitors can get a close-up look at the labs, original artifacts, and vintage movies within the museum. When you’re done checking out the museum, don’t forget to take a tour through Edison’s Queen-Ann-style home.
Take a trip to Historic Smithville.
Check out vintage pinball machines at The Silverball Museum Arcade. Here you’ll find hundreds of games in rotation including classic video games, Air Hockey and Skee Ball.
Visit The Spy House, one of the most haunted places in America. This house dates back to 1648 and is supposedly home to 30 different ghosts.
NJ Foodie Bucketlist: Foods You Must Try Before You Die in NJ
Eat a classic New Jersey Pork roll Egg and cheese.
Sit by the ocean and have dinner at Serina in Long Branch, NJ.
Have a cheeseburger at Stage Left in New Brunswick.
Eat Clam Chowder in a bread bowl.
Eat homemade fudge down the shore.
Snack on salt water taffy for a summer treat. This sweet and chewy candy originated along the boardwalks of Atlantic City.
Go to Dolce and Clementes (Pork Store) and get some amazing Italian delicacies.
Have dinner at Cafe Luna in Old Bridge.
Grab a pint at the Kane Brewing Company. This brewery is home to award winning beers and specializes in German/Belgian styles. Self-guided tours are available on the weekends and there is a beer garden in the spring and summer.
Have a steak at Just Restaurant in Old Bridge.
Order a pie and a Chicken Parm at the oldest pizzeria in NJ, Papa’s Tomato Pies in Hamilton, NJ.
Eat at the Ship Bottom Shellfish restaurant in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island in NJ.
If you haven’t already, your have to add Burgernut to your bucket list. Order a burgernut from The Committed Pig. Unlike a traditional burger, the burgernut is an American cheese burger served on a glazed donut.
Get Cioppino at the Mud City Crabhouse in Manahawkin, NJ.
Eat french fries and gravy at a classic New Jersey Diner.
Get an original Mai Tai or a Killer Zombie and order Corrina’s Critically Acclaimed 24oz. New York Strip Steak at the Peking Pavilion in Manalapan NJ.
Eat at the Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick
Eat a hot dog at the WindMill in Long Branch, or at the Olde Heidelberg in Keansburg.
Get an iconic Italian Hot Dog. These Jersey dogs are fried in oil and served on a roll of Italian pizza bread and topped with sautéed onions, peppers and potatoes. Try one at Rutt’s Hut in Clifton.
Eat a cake from Carlo’s Bakery.
Try exotic game meats at Dark Side of the Moo. This unique restaurant serves traditional food truck dishes made with meats like elk, kangaroo and yak.
Enjoy a meal at JBJ Soul Kitchen. This community restaurant is owned by Rockstar Jon Bon Jovi and serves everyone, regardless of their financial situation. Those who don’t have money for a meal are invited to work off their meal by volunteering in the kitchen. All proceeds from this non-profit community program support individuals and families in economic despair.
See the most romantic restaurants in NJ.
Wait There’s more!
See 321 best places to visit in NJ.
151 things to do in NJ and why you should do them right away.
See over 50 ultra-romantic activities in NJ.
What’s on your bucket list?
Let us know below in the comments and we’ll add them for you!